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Improve render times of After Effects Apps
Improve the rendering times with Adobe After Effects; sometimes as great as from one hour to five minutes.

I did a test with a very complex scene composed in a big composition (5000x7000 pixels), with a lot of elements. Outside this composition the camera moves within a 1025x576 composition.

If I render it as is, in Full Current Options + Motion Blur activated the composition gives me approximately one hour of rendering time.

Then if you select a view port (that covers all the composition 1024x576) using the same conditions the render only takes 5 minutes! The easiest way to show the settings used is with this screenshot.

This isn't a catch-all method but it can work wonders in the right situation. You can read more here.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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10.6: Create global hotkeys to control Google Music playback Apps
Snow Leopard only hintI've been enjoying the Google Music Beta, but I hated having to go to my Web browser, to the Google Music tab, and click the button. So, I wrote some services to create global hotkeys to play/pause, skip forward/back, and toggle shuffle.

To create a service, open Automator. When asked to choose a template, select Service. Our service will have only one block: Run AppleScript. Type that into the search bar at the top left and drag the Run AppleScript item to the project area on the right.
Replace the code in the box already with this:
on run
  tell application "Google Chrome"
    set allWins to every window
    set allTabs to {}
    repeat with currWin in allWins
      set allTabs to allTabs & every tab of currWin
    end repeat
    repeat with currTab in allTabs
      try
        if ((characters -10 thru -1 of (title of currTab as string)) as string) = "Music Beta" then set musicTab to currTab
      end try
    end repeat
    tell musicTab to execute javascript "SJBpost('playPause');"
  end tell
end run
If you're using Google Chrome, leave the code as is. If you're using Safari, change the 'Google Chrome' in the first line to 'Safari,' change the word title (near the middle) to name, and change the word execute on the third-to-last line to do.

Now, change the Service Receives menu to no input. Save the service somewhere safe but out-of-the-way.

Now, go to System Preferences » Keyboard » Keyboard Shortcuts » Services. Scroll down to the General section and find the service we just made. Click on the right column and type a keyboard shortcut (make sure it isn't used for anything else).

Now, from where ever you are you can press that shortcut and Google Music will play or pause playback.

To create shortcuts for the other functions, repeat the above steps and change one line of the code: change playPause (near the end) to prevSong. Save that service and give it a unique shortcut. Do this again with nextSong. And again with toggleShuffle.

Now you can control Google Music playback with keyboard shortcuts from everywhere.

If you are so inclined, you could use apps like KeyRemap4MacBook to remap the built-in media keys to F-keys, and use an app like Butler to assign these scripts to those F-keys.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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Publish iWeb to Dropbox Apps
Apple is ending MobileMe, so users will have to find an alternative. I found that you can publish a iWeb webpage to your Dropbox (folder), and have it's own URL. It won't be searchable by Google, though.

Go to your iWeb project, select Publish to: Local Folder, and select your Dropbox folder (or any folder inside it) for Folder Location. After Dropbox is done syncing, go to the Dropbox website and get the sharable link of a file named index.html. You can shorten the link if you want to.

Dropbox opens the file(which is the webpage) instead of downloading the file.

[crarko adds: I'm sure this will be one of many ways to handle the eventual demise of MobileMe's web hosting service. It would sure be nice to find out more about how iCloud is going to handle this, if at all.]
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Remove an Akamai plist error from the Console Apps
If your network slows down or the performance of your Mac inexplicably deteriorates, make sure to have a look in the Console. You might find an error mentioning that a deamon, called Akamai Client, can't find the file loader.pl in /Applications/Akamai. You can find a picture of this error on my blog.

It has been suggested that this problem is caused by any Adobe product, but althought I suspect this to be correct, I can't confirm this. Aforementioned website recommends re-downloading and re-installing the Adobe software and then executing a command line utility, but this didn't work for me. Here's what I did.

I decided to search for the files (in Terminal) related to the problem and typed:

$locate akamai

in the shell. The locate command found two files:

com.akamai.mac.plist
com.akamai.client.plist


One of them was in a deamons folder, the other in a preferences folder. I simply moved both files to the trash and restarted the Mac. This removed the recurring error message from the console window and improved my Mac's performance.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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Make uneditable events in iCal editable Apps
I recently synchronized my Facebook events with my Google calendar, and then I added that calendar to iCal via CalDAV. When I want to add one of those events to one of my published calendars on my website, I always try to copy the event from the Facebook events calendar and paste it in the other calendar.

However, I usually want to edit the event which sometimes causes all sorts of headaches because it's either not editable (even though I'm editing a copy in my own calendar) or it wants to send emails to all my invitees. This is due to the fact that I am not recognized as the event's organizer. So I devised a rudimentary way to make such copied events editable and hassle free. My solution is crude and slightly convoluted, so I am hoping someone out there will post a better version in the comments.

Basically, I used a Folder Action to obtain an .ics file of the single event, edit it to remove the ORGANIZER field, and then open the edited file.

First, you'll have to create a convenient folder to drag your events to and attach the following AppleScript:
on adding folder items to this_folder after receiving added_items
  
  repeat with i from 1 to number of items in added_items
    set this_item to item i of added_items as alias
    tell application "Finder"
      --get the name of the file
      set pathstr to POSIX path of this_item
      --set this_file_name to the name of this_item
      set exT_name to name extension of this_item
    end tell
    if the exT_name is "ics" then
      set cmd to "grep -v ^ORGANIZER: '" & pathstr & "' > '" & pathstr & ".tmp'; mv '" & pathstr & ".tmp' '" & pathstr & "'"
      display dialog cmd buttons {"OK"} default button 1 default answer "" with icon 2
      do shell script cmd
    end if
    tell application "Finder"
      open this_item
    end tell
    
  end repeat
  
end adding folder items to
I created a folder called MakeEventsEditable, put it in a handy spot, enabled Folder Actions, and then attached my script.

One caveat on the next step -- events in a subscribed Facebook events calendar cannot be dragged to a folder, so to get around this, you have to Control+click on the event and select 'Mail Event.' This will bring up an email with the ics file attached. Drag that attached event file to your folder with the attached Folder Action.

It will create a temporary file with the edited contents and then replace the old version with the new. If someone knows how to do a safe clean-up of the file after it's been added to iCal, please edit the script for me and post it in the comments.

The script will then open the edited event in iCal, which will prompt you to select a calendar to add it to. Note, if you add it to a Google calendar via CalDAV, sometimes the event will disappear in a few seconds. To bring it back, refresh that calendar. This works reliably for me.

Now you have an editable event. Every once in awhile, you'll have to clean out that folder. I'm going to be using this a lot. If you find you are having trouble with any events using this script, there may be other fields in the file that will need to be edited or removed as well.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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VMware Fusion 3 hints, bugs and fixes Apps
These hints, tips, and bugfixes apply to VMware Fusion without antivirus; that is about 152 MB: 'VMware Fusion 3.1.2 (for Intel-based Macs): Download including only VMware Fusion software.' Some may be present in more recent updates as well.

Some of the issues can be avoided or fixed by installing VMware Fusion with antivirus; that is about 436 MB: 'VMware Fusion 3.1.2 (for Intel-based Macs): Download including VMware Fusion and a 12 month complimentary subscription to McAfee VirusScan Plus 2009.'

First, a bug. The 'Uninstall VMware Fusion.app' deletes the following items from /Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/isoimages/:
  • freebsd.iso
  • freebsd.iso.sig
  • linux.iso
  • linux.iso.sig
  • netware.iso
  • netware.iso.sig
  • solaris.iso
  • solaris.iso.sig
  • winPre2k.iso
  • winPre2k.iso.sig
leaving only:
  • darwin.iso
  • darwin.iso.sig
  • tools-key.pub
  • windows.iso
  • windows.iso.sig
Such files should not be deleted, since other OSes, like Ubuntu, require them. In such a case, the files should be restored with Time Machine or other backup.

2. On the other hand, Windows XP sometimes does not automatically install/update the VMware Tools after each Fusion update. In such a case, they must be installed manually, from the Virtual Machine » Install VMware Tools menu.

3. It is a real pain for Mac users to install the VMware Tools on Ubuntu. First of all, the warning to update it using the VMware menus is misleading and utterly wrong. There is no way of doing it that way, which can only cause problems. The only way to do it is using Terminal and it is not a Mac look and feel procedure.

Note: if after a Fusion update a small Ubuntu window is shown with only the vmware-tools-distrib on the desktop (and not the rest of items that you may have on the desktop, cancel the VMware Tools install (VMware Fusion menu » Virtual Machine » Cancel VMware Tools Installation), shut down Ubuntu (NOT just log out but shut down) and open it again. Now, the full Ubuntu desktop should again show up.

3.1. Do NOT select the 'Virtual Machine/Install VMware Tools' menu, since it only works from Windows and NOT from Ubuntu (Linux) and may interfere later on (stuck Ubuntu while booting after VMware Tools installation.

In such a case reboot the Mac, open Fusion again, open Ubuntu and re-install the VMware Tools again (if required). If the VMware Tools CD icon does not show on the Ubuntu Desktop, mount it (it has a CD-ROM disc icon) to access the VMwareTools package.

To do so, cancel the VMware Tools install (as described above) if active and then manually load the correct .iso file. On the VM's window status bar (the bottom right CD-ROM icon or from the Virtual Machine menu) click the Optical Disc Icon and select Choose Disk Image... and navigate to /Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/isoimages/linux.iso. Click the Open button to select it.

If you have the Status Bar hidden either unhide it (VMware Fusion menu » View » Show Status Bar) or go to VMware Fusion menu » Virtual Machine » CD/DVD » Choose Disk Image... and choose the linux.iso file from the path above. (Note: Some of these steps are taken outside the VM). If the VMware Tools CD-ROM icon does not show on the Ubuntu Desktop, just select Connect CD on the bottom right CD-ROM icon or from the Virtual Machine menu.

After you have selected the linux.iso it should auto-mount and the VMware Tools DVD-ROM Icon should appear on the Desktop again however make sure you do not select the Install VMware Tools command from the Virtual Machine menu as that can not be done when manually mounting the linux.iso file.

At this point you should carry through with the remaining steps shown in the VMware Fusion Help File on installing VMware Tools in Linux and you want to be working with the VMwareTools-x.x.x-xxxx.tar.gz package.

Note: After manually attaching the linux.iso if it doesn't auto-mount you may have to mount it manually and the directions for that should also be in the VMware Fusion Help File.

3.2. Control click the VMware Tools package (for example, VMwareTools-8.2.3-204229.tar.gz). Note that you can copy the name with Control Click - Properties - Select name and Control C to extract it to the Ubuntu Desktop (to generate the 'vmware-tools-distrib' folder).

3.3. Open and read the 'INSTALL' file inside for further details.

3.4. Open Applications/Accessories/Terminal, type sudo and press space bar and then Drag and drop the file 'vmware-install.pl' (make sure that no extra characters like quotes are added) and press Return.

3.5. Type the root password when prompted (eg., password). Press Return. It may take a few seconds to respond. Be patient. If the password is not accepted, close windows and shut down Ubuntu (not just log out, but shut down), then open Ubuntu again and repeat from step 3.4 above.

3.6. Press return to accept all default settings. It may again take some seconds to respond. A Terminal window should show some directions (as explained below). Read them. Eventually, Ubuntu should reboot automatically and the Terminal window will show ubuntu@ubuntu-desktop:~$. Type 'exit; and press return to close the terminal. Close other windows if open. DO NOT RESIZE THE UBUNTU DESKTOP NOW.

3.7. Restart Ubuntu again (Ubuntu/Restart). Now the mouse pointer should work fine inside and outside the Ubuntu Desktop window. You can now trash and delete the vmware-tools-distrib folder (Control Click to move the file to the Trash; Control Click to empty the Trash -- note that the Trash is a blue trash icon on the bottom menu bar). Likewise, you may now unmount the 'VMware Tools' CD icon (Control Click), but if it is not unmounted, it will show on the Ubuntu Desktop in the future, so it can come in handy to leave it mounted for the future.

3.8. If a warning about installing VMware Tools shows, Open Terminal and type:

/usr/bin/vmware-toolbox

The Terminal may give an error, but the 'VMware Tools Properties' should open. Close it. Exit the Terminal session.

Now, there should be no warning about installing VMware Tools when rebooting, shutting down or opening Ubuntu, which means that VMware Tools are now correctly installed.

Note that it is required to install VMware Tools after each single update or upgrade of Linux, Windows or VMware for it to work!

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. This sounds like it's specific to Ubuntu but I suppose other Linux distributions may be equally challenging. It would be great if other VMware Fusion users would add their experiences as datapoints in the comments. I've only really used Parallels, and then just with Windows. I expect both products are optimized to make using Windows pretty easy, but the Linux/BSD experience can be a great deal tougher, as it can sometimes with non-VM installs of those systems.]
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Jump forward or backwards in iTunes Apps
Maybe this is common knowledge, but I had never heard of it. I found out by accident that the key combos Command+Option+Right Arrow and Command+Option+Left Arrow will jump forwards or backwards in the currently playing item, respectively, by five seconds. This is the same key combo that VLC uses to jump forwards and backwards.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. This shortcut does not seem to be mentioned in Apple's list of shortcuts for iTunes. It didn't work in QuickTime Player or Quick Look, though.]
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Change Mail behavior when replying to a message in the Sent mailbox Apps
When using Gmail (I don't know if this is the case with other webmail providers), if you reply to a message in your Sent mailbox, the recipient of the reply message is set to the recipient of the original message you sent. That makes sense, it's useful for quickly replying to a message you've just sent when you realize you've forgotten something (like an attachment).

However, Apple Mail doesn't work that way; if you reply to a message in your Sent mailbox, you (the sender of the original message) become the recipient of the reply message (which is pretty useless in my opinion).

If you choose Reply all instead of Reply, it's a little better: you are still the 'To' recipient of the reply message, but the recipients of the original message are added as Cc: recipients of the reply message.

I used this fact to create an AppleScript that when invoked creates a reply to the selected message in the Sent mailbox in Mail, with the recipients of the original message as 'To' recipients of the reply message and no Cc: recipient, thus restoring Gmail's behavior in Mail.

Here is the script:
tell application "Mail"
  activate
  set theMessages to the selected messages of the front message viewer
  
  (*the script is intended to work on only one message but if "selection" is used instead of "selected items" along with "first item of" on the next line, nothing happens (no message appears). I think it's a bug in the reply command. (A little Google search shows you this command has a buggy past...) *)
  
  set theMessage to first item of theMessages
  set outgoingReplyMessage to (reply theMessage with opening window and reply to all)
  
  (*"reply to all" is always used in order to get the recipients of the original message in the Cc field (as I said above, if it's not used, the original recipients are not used anywhere). They are switched to the To field later on. *)
  
  set theIntendedRecipientsAdresses to (get address of every cc recipient of outgoingReplyMessage)
  set quoted to quote original message
  if quoted is true then
    set quote original message to false
    
    (*this is to prevent the cited text of the original message to appear a large number of time in the reply message (in my tests, it was copied at least 27 times). I think this is another bug... *)
    
  end if
  repeat with theIntendedRecipientAddress in theIntendedRecipientsAdresses
    
    (*this is the real work : each cc recipient is copied to the To recipient field. *)
    
    tell outgoingReplyMessage
      set theIntendedRecipient to make new to recipient at the end of to recipients
      set address of theIntendedRecipient to theIntendedRecipientAddress
    end tell
  end repeat
  set address of first to recipient of outgoingReplyMessage to ""
  
  --deletes you (the sender) from the list of To recipients
  
  set address of cc recipient of outgoingReplyMessage to ""
  
  --deletes every Cc recipients
  
  if quoted is true then
    set quote original message to true
  end if
end tell
For ease of use, I copied that script into a 'Run Applescript' Automator action (receive no input, in application Mail) and saved it as a Service (10.6 only). I then assigned a keyboard shortcut for it using the Keyboard preference pane of System Preference (Under the Keyboard Shortcut tab, then choosing Services on the left). Command+Option+Shift+R and Command+Control+Option+R are both available in Mail.

Of course, you can also use it with your favorite shortcut application, be it Quicksilver, Butler, Alfred, Keyboard Maestro, etc. Just save it as a Script instead (.scpt).

Be warned that this script is only intended to be used in the Sent mailbox; using it on a message in your Inbox won't work (and could lead to errors.) What's more, there is no error detection to verify it is used in the Sent mailbox.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. A very useful script.]
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Get Account Info in Mail Apps
In Mail.app, press Command+I on the Inbox icon (or right-click on it and choose 'Get Account Info') and sample the awesomeness. Actually, this works with any of the main mailbox icons. Just select an account from the popup menu.

It gives space usage for each folder and quota limits for the account, plus other settings from the 'Account Info' preference, and works for Gmail and Exchange too. I just stumbled onto it and found it worth sharing.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. I hadn't seen this one before either. I looked, but didn't see a previous hint on it. Let me know if I'm mistaken.]
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Improve performance of Home Sharing in iTunes Apps
You can make iTunes Home Sharing work better by switching off the old unused method of sharing.

I'd been having lots of problems with connecting from my Apple TV and iPad/iPods to my iTunes library using Home Sharing. It turns out that Home Sharing is completely separate to the old sharing system in iTunes and the old version can be switched off. This has improved the performance a lot for me.

[crarko adds: I'm trying this, but it's too early for me to tell if there is any improvement or not. It certainly seems worth trying if you don't need the old style of sharing.]
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